“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” – Zig Ziglar
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” - Aesop
My four children are precious blessings from God, but if I am honest sometimes these gems act like goblins. Nothing acts as nails on a chalkboard more to me than complaining. This is especially grievous when you have gone out of your way to do something extra nice and fun with them. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and the majority of the time they are awesome, fun, and totally enjoyable. But, there are those rare occasions when their whining, complaining, and lack of gratitude bubble up. If have children, you have likely experienced this frustration.
I recall one event a couple years back when we decided to do something extra special with the kids. We were going to have a great family day by going to Chuck-E-Cheese, CiCi’s Pizza, and then watch a movie as a family. This may be a standard day for your family, but for us this was a rare and special treat, and the kids were excited. The children gambling center… oh sorry Chuck-E-Cheese went over great. They played tons of games, got to see the huge mouse Chuck-E-Cheese, and even won some cool prizes. So far so good, but CiCi’s Pizza is where the problem arose. The kids love CiCi’s but they didn’t love the fact that we were not going to get them a soda. To save money, we were going to get water and then have a two liter at home to drink with the movie. Our efforts of graciousness and lavish spending on them were forgotten in an instant when a Styrofoam cup filled with sugar water was “taken away”. They felt they were owed that drink, and somehow we were being unloving and unfair for withholding it from them. Of course this prompted some discipline and conversations from us, but that is another story for another time. The point I want to focus on is the way I felt when they acted this way.
Great sacrifice had been made for this special day, and I honestly was really looking forward to it. My liberal giving was completely forgotten when one little thing they wanted was withheld. My desire to do good and enjoy my children was diminished, and I quickly found myself despairing of our day instead of delighting in it. Let that sink in. A day that was heading for the greatest day ever, quickly took a turn to a terrible day because of the selfish attitude of ingratitude.
In Numbers eleven, we read of a benevolent God who has showered His children with more blessings than could be counted. Yet in the midst of this lavish outpour of His wonderful blessings, they complain and murmur that they want flesh. It becomes a demand of the people, almost like a two year old throwing a tantrum. “GIVE US FLESH TO EAT!” Had they not considered that God knew what was best for them, and He had already given them blessings time and time again? They turned what could have been a great journey with God into a disaster by their greed and lack of gratitude.
God gave them what they wanted, and it became loathsome unto them. This simple means they got to the point they hated it. The phrase “out at your nostrils” shows how God was going to provide their greedy want in such a way they regret ever asking for it. After this, God judges he people and many of them die. God used this as a lesson that gratitude and thanksgiving should be prevailing traits of His people not lust and greed.
Today, make a choice to be grateful for the blessings of God already in your life. If your prayer list and life are littered with “I want”, “I need”, “give me, give me, give me”, and completely lacks thanksgiving, maybe you need to reconsider you approach to our gracious God. Take some time today, not to ask for anything, but as a grateful child to simple say THANK YOU.
Daily Scripture Reading
Numbers 11 - 13
“Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.”